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Tableau Preps Big Data Battle Vs., IBM

3/10/2014 by


Tableau Software might be facing its toughest test as new rivals and IBM try to challenge the company in the fast-growing data analytics software market.

Tableau Software ( DATA ) has emerged as a leading provider of data analytics software that helps companies better analyze sales and other data in easy-to-read charts.

Until the widespread selloff that hit the tech sector this year, the stock zoomed early and often as the company reported beat-and-raise quarters with high double-digit year-over-year revenue growth like clockwork.

In its second quarter, Tableau reported revenue growth of 82% and earnings per share minus items of 5 cents. Analysts had expected revenue growth of 60% and a loss of 3 cents per share.

But new products ( CRM ) andIBM ( IBM ) could give Tableau more competition.

IBM announced a new visual data analytics software product on Sept. 16. Salesforce is expected to debut a similar product this month during its annual Dreamforce conference, planned for Oct. 13-16.

Meanwhile, Tableau is preparing new products and expanding offshore to better compete with another competitor,Qlik Technologies ( QLIK ), which is much stronger outside the U.S., says J. Derrick Wood, an analyst for Susquehanna Financial Group.

"IBM (in October) is going to make a big announcement with the new data visualization product called Watson analytics and then you have the speculation that Salesforce is going to announce their own analytics cloud product -- a brand new product in analytics," he told IBD. "There is no doubt that it's a hot space and Tableau is the leader, but you have got a lot of new products entering the market and maybe they create a more challenging competitive backdrop."

Competitive Intelligence

But Tableau isn't too concerned about noise from existing or new rivals, says Francois Ajenstat, the company's senior director of product management.

"Over the last four to five years most of the large enterprise vendors --SAP ( SAP ),Microsoft (MSFT), IBM -- have all been introducing products and capabilities that are trying to mimic what Tableau has done," he told IBD. "They are playing catch-up in this market."

Tableau and its new rivals are scrambling to grab a piece of what is becoming a fast-growing market.

By 2018, global sales of business analytics software will reach $59.2 billion, up about 57% from 2013, says market tracker IDC.

Tableau sells software that can be deployed on a single desktop, on company servers and in the cloud.

The company now appears to be putting more focus on enterprise-level deals that would allow it to better compete with Qlik, Wood says.

"They have focused a lot on the desktop side and not much on the server side, and that is kind of where they are lacking and where Qlik Tech differentiates," he said.

Wood says deploying the software on servers helps give more people in a company access to data so the information can be checked by multiple departments at once, in order to address issues such as regulatory compliance.

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